SB 11-045 (the bill) creates a new Siting Commission to approve "planned facilities" within 180 days of the date of filing of the application by the utility. As defined under the bill, planned facilities are electric transmission facilities that are specifically listed in a current statewide long-range plan adopted pursuant to rules promulgated by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). (For a more detailed summary of the rules see blog posting on January 24, 2011.) The bill is specifically limited to PUC jurisdictional public utilities.
The Siting Commission serves at the pleasure of the Governor and its members are appointed by the Governor in three categories: (1) three members representing regulators of utilities; (2) three members representing local governments in which a planned facility is proposed to be located; and (3) one member representing the public at large. With the exception of two members, each member from category (1) and category (3) serve for a term of four years. The members from category (2) serve for the length of the proceeding and if necessary can serve on more than one Siting Commission simultaneously, depending on the number of applications pending.
Under the bill, a utility may submit to the PUC, an application for a certificate of public need and necessity (CPCN) for a planned facility. The PUC must act on the application within 180 days (or 200 days if the application required filing of additional information) or the application is deemed approved.
Upon approval of the application for a CPCN by the PUC, the utility may submit an application for siting approval of a planned facility to the Siting Commission. The Siting Commission must act on the application within 180 days (or 200 days if the application required filing of additional information) or the application is deemed approved.
Once the utility receives CPCN approval from the PUC and siting approval from the Siting Commission, no further approvals are required.
Decisions by the PUC and the Siting Commission are appealed to the court of appeals.